America Ferrera: 'We are under attack'

Story highlights

  • Actress America Ferrera writes an open letter to girls of the world

Dear Girls of the World,

We are under attack. We are denied education. We are bought and sold like cattle. We are threatened and killed for voicing our dreams.

We are all suffering.

America Ferrera

When one girl in the world suffers for being born female, every girl in the world is made vulnerable. Gender-based hate in the most remote corner of the Earth threatens the very core of our dignity. How can any of us be free while our sisters are slaves in this very instant?

To turn a blind eye to a single girl living in sub-human status is to accept that status for each and every one of us.

If the girls of the world stay silent, we will protect hate. Only our collective voice can carry our stories far and wide enough to drive out the oppression of girls everywhere. Until the day we all have the opportunity to speak up for ourselves, we have to bear witness for one another.

Lift your voice for those who can't! Write an open letter about what girls' education means to you.

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    - America Ferrera

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        Girl Rising

      • Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai is pictured holding a backpack in Birmingham, central England, on March 19, 2013 before returning to school for the first time since she was shot in the head by the Taliban in October 2012 for campaigning for girls' education. The 15-year-old said she had "achieved her dream" and was looking forward to meeting new friends at the independent Edgbaston High School for Girls in Birmingham, where she is now living. Malala was flown to Britain after the attack for surgery for her head injuries and underwent several operations as recently as last month

        The school year started with a shooting. Now, Malala eyes a summer of speaking at the U.N. and telling her story in a new book.
      • girl.rising.change.the.world.event.cnn.films_00000307

        One girl with courage is a revolution. CNN Films' "Girl Rising" tells the stories of girls across the globe and the power of education to change the world.
      • What a queen, a correspondent, an activist and an actress have to say to girls everywhere? Read their open letters.
      • Suma, Nepal
"Change is like a song you can't hold back." 
Suma's brothers are sent to school, but her parents have no money for a daughter's education. Given into bonded servitude at age 6, Suma labors in the house of a master from before dawn until late at night. For years, the Nepali girl suffers in silence, until music gives her a voice. A stroke of luck and kindness gives Suma a chance to go to school -- and a crusader is born.

        Are you inspired to help the cause of girls' education around the world?
      • Senna, Peru
"Poetry is how I turn ugliness into art."  
La Rinconada, Peru, is a bleak corner of the world that regularly turns out two things: gold from deep within its mountain, which is immediately sent far away; and despair, which remains. Senna's is 
the poorest of the poor mining families clinging to that mountain. Every day is a struggle. Yet, somehow, she was given two magnificent gifts: a father who named her for a warrior princess and insisted that she goes to school, and a talent with words. And when Senna discovers poetry, everything changes.

        Get more information about CNN Films' "Girl Rising" as well as the latest news and global voices on the topic of girls education.